Lawsuit challenges Colorado's three-day waiting period for gun purchases

The new law states delivering a firearm prior to the expiration of the waiting period is a civil offense.

Published: October 2, 2023 10:59pm

(The Center Square) -

The day after a Colorado law established a waiting period for a firearms seller to deliver a gun to a purchaser, it's being challenged in court.

House Bill 23-1912, signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and taking effect on Oct. 1, established a three-day waiting period for the seller to deliver the firearm to the purchaser. "The waiting period is the later in time of three days after the initiation of a required background check of the purchaser or when the purchase is approved following any background check," the bill's summary states.

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and Alicia Garcia, a firearms instructor, filed a 36-page civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Colorado against Polis. The suit argues the law violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by imposing unnecessary and burdensome delays on law-abiding citizens seeking to exercise their right to bear arms.

The plaintiffs, led by attorney Barry Arrington, argue the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 rejected tiers of "scrutiny" found in gun laws in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Superintendent of New York State Police. The 6-3 ruling found the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a loaded handgun in public for self defense. It found New York's law requiring citizens to demonstrate "proper cause" to obtain a carry permit was unconstitutional.

"We reiterate that the standard for applying the Second Amendment is as follows: When the Second Amendment's plain text covers an individual's conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct," the complaint states, quoting the Bruen ruling. "The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation."

The lawsuit requests a declaratory judgment stating the law is unconstitutional and a temporary restraining order for preliminary and permanent orders to stop enforcement of the law.

"Today, gun owners are feeling the wrath of Colorado's anti-gun politicians, and my goal is to stop them from using the legal precedent set in last year's Bruen decision," Taylor Rhodes, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. "This unconstitutional delay of acquiring firearms must not stand."

The new law states delivering a firearm prior to the expiration of the waiting period is a civil offense. The first violation is punishable by a $500 fine and the second or subsequent offenses can be punished by a fine from $500 to $5,000.

The waiting period doesn't apply to vendors selling antique firearms or relics. The law also doesn't apply to anyone serving in the armed forces who will be deployed outside the U.S. within the next 30 days to sell a firearm to a family member.

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